The home of PedTech
You have come here because you have an interest in EdTech.
You are curious about the title - PedTech.
You might be wondering why PedTech is any different to EdTech, or why any kind of change in thinking is necessary. Or, you might already be familiar with this conversation, and keen to hear more about what is being said.
Whatever your background and whatever your perspective, we welcome you. Importantly, we also want to thank you for being part of what is now a global conversation involving practitioners, researchers, and policy makers. (#PedTech)
As you read these words you will not be surprised that EdTech represents around 5% of the global education expenditure – a whopping $6.5trillion in 2021. Furthermore, you are unlikely to be surprised that the sudden worldwide investments in technology made as a result of the coronovirus pandemic are considered by economists and analysts to be part of a wider increased trend, and reflective of a continued priority for future investment in education (Cooper Gibson, 2022). You will already be aware that the majority of schools (and organisations that work with schools) are investing strategically in ways to improve teaching and learning through the uses of technologies.
Yet there remain some sources of great friction when we talk about EdTech.
Over a decade ago, Professor Rose Luckin led a team who carried out extensive research about different kinds of uses of technologies in schools (Luckin et al., 2012). The consequent Nesta report Decoding Learning: The Proof, Promise and Potential of Digital Education, set out evidence about how technologies were being used, how these uses compared to their potential, and what the sector needed to do to make that potential into a reality for children and young people. The overarching message that this report argued was that from an impact perspective, “no technology has an impact on learning on its own: success depends on how it is being used.”
The friction in conversations about EdTech are a result of the irony that we are still immersed in the same conversation. For example, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) published a report synthesising existing literature about using digital technologies to improve learning, which stated a key finding in 2019, that;
“technology must be used in a way that is informed by effective pedagogy."
For those with an interest in Educational Technology, the frustrations of this inertia have been keenly felt and many have sought to be catalysts for change by championing specialist support agencies, working parties, increased funding and policy change. A huge amount of work has been undertaken by a huge amount of people.
But, the solution is perhaps a much simpler one.
We just need to remember that ultimately, every decision made in a school is ultimately a pedagogical one. This is because these decisions define the choices that can be made by leaders, teachers and students in everyday classroom practice. So the pedagogy behind those decisions needs thinking about. The most effective schools do this explicitly at every level, every day.
Some teachers and leaders are able to champion technology.
But every teacher and leader can champion learning.
When we talk about EdTech we are focusing our attention on Education – systems and processes. Things that can be replicated and ‘trained’. But let's remember, at the heart of education are human beings – learners, teachers, leaders, families – each of which interact through different kinds of relationships and behaviours. So technology should be viewed through the lens of relationships and behaviours (pedagogy), not just systems and processes (education).
Post-pandemic, conversation has subtly shifted. We’ve moved from ‘using technology to support teaching and learning’ (framed around technology) towards ‘pedagogically led uses of technology’ (framed around pedagogy).
It’s subtle, but it finally puts Teaching & Learning in the driving seat which is far more inclusive for both classroom teachers and all our students.
It's a simple mindset shift, from EdTech to PedTech.
Aubrey-Smith, F., and Twining, P., (2023) From EdTech to PedTech: Changing the way we think about digital technology. Routledge. London.
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